“Color and light are basically all I think about when I’m painting,” says Seth Armstrong. Working with oil paints on wood, the Los Angeles-based artist renders the sloping hills of his native California county in bold, saturated tones. Depicting the staggered houses and vegetation in the glow of golden hour or just after sunrise, Armstrong balances both hyperrealism and more sweeping, gestural strokes. He includes the occasional candy-colored hue to veil the densely populated landscape—the artist notes that small details can be difficult to perceive when not viewing the works in person—with a layer of magic. “The paintings do become, for me, more than a depiction of light and color,” he writes. “But that’s a personal relationship we have.”
A limited-edition print of “Purple Mountain” releases on April 12 through Unit Drops, and Armstrong will have a solo show at Unit London this fall. Check out his Instagram for a larger collection of his paintings and glimpses into his home studio, where he works alongside ceramicist Madeleine Pellegren. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
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From her studio in Amsterdam, Gésine Hackenberg (previously) punches perfectly round discs from Delftware and antique ceramic dishes. The ornate, pearl-like forms are then strung together into necklaces or secured into metal bands for rings and earrings. Juxtaposing the old and new, the completed wearables are positioned alongside the original dinnerware to draw connections between the domestic objects and personal adornments that are ubiquitous in everyday life.
The ongoing collection—which Hackenberg says was inspired by her grandmother’s pearl necklaces and massive cabinet of porcelain dishes—evidences what the designer sees as “a certain kinship” between what’s worn on the body and the pieces that decorate and sustain a living space. She says:
What one keeps and owns, often contains an emotional meaning next to its practical function or worth. Possessions, especially personal treasures, define and represent their owner. Jewelry is in particular an outward sign of values that are deeply rooted in the wearer, of what people cherish, in what they believe, and what they desire.
Because the ceramic material is incredibly fragile, Hackenberg works manually with custom tools. She’s developed a precise understanding of the drilling speeds and pressure necessary to remove each disc without creating too many chips or cracks. If the material is damaged throughout the temperamental extraction process, the entire piece is unusable.
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Using just his hands, Tokyo-based artist Naoki Onogawa folds scores of origami cranes with wingspans that never top a single centimeter. He then fastens the minuscule birds to asymmetric tree forms, creating bonsai-like sculptures engulfed by hundreds of the monochromatic paper creatures.
Onogawa tells Colossal that he began crafting the tiny birds following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake that devastated parts of southern Hokkaido and Tohoku, which the artist visited the next year. As he walked around the city of Rikuzen Takata, he spotted 1,000 paper cranes at the site of a school demolished by the tsunami. “I found myself in terror of how powerless we humans are in the face of nature’s wonder; yet at the same time, I felt empowered by the power of life, vitality, that shined so brightly in the aftermath of its wrath,” Onogawa says. He explains further:
It was like witnessing the result of a desolate ritual where people channeled their unsettled feelings into these cranes. And here they exist, spirited with prayers that they would go back and forward to and from a world beyond here. I struggle to find the words to describe it, but I think that maybe the cranes that I fold now come from that place of solemn prayer.
Onogawa’s cranes are on view at the Setouchi City Museum of Art alongside Motoi Yamamoto’s sprawling salt installation through May 5. Browse available artworks on Picaresque, and explore a larger collection of his pieces on Instagram. (via designboom)
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A celebration of contemporary paper art, a new book gathers a wide-ranging collection of collages, quilled portraits, and intricately cut landscapes from 24 artists and studios around the globe. Published by Gingko Press, Paperists: Infinite Possibilities in Paper Art spans 256 pages that explore the unexpected ways the medium is used today and features work from a slew of artists featured on Colossal, including Estudio Guardabosques (previously), Makerie Studio (previously), Yulia Brodskaya (previously), and Zim & Zou (previously), to name a few. Grab a copy of the forthcoming volume on Bookshop.
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Approach the delicate glass artworks by Rui Sasaki, and witness the unpredictable patterns of the weather through a subtle glow of blue light. The Japanese artist’s experiential body of work translates varying forecasts into speckled sculptures that radiate once encountered, an intimate process that Sasaki describes as a way to “visualize subtle sunshine, record today’s weather, and transfer it from here to there/from there to here.”
At their brightest, the phosphorescent crystals are tinged green before fading to blue. “Visitors will doubtless be surprised to find that even if they cannot see anything on first entering the gallery, stay long enough and their eyes will become accustomed to the dark, and the elements of the work will gradually become visible,” Sasaki writes. Because each encounter sparks a unique reaction in the embedded lights, no two experiences will be the same. She explains:
The phosphorescent glass used stores light of a wavelength close to that of sunlight, with this stored light then glowing in the dark. That is to say, one is now seeing light accumulated in the past. If a viewer remains in the gallery for an extended period, the next viewer will see the work glowing weakly in the darkness. With longer viewing time, the light of the phosphorescent glass fades, moment by moment, until finally the gallery is plunged into darkness. This might occur a minute later, or a day later, depending on viewer movements.
Many of the sculptures evoke organic elements in material, concept, and sometimes form, whether shaped into swollen raindrops or a sun-like orb. Others, though, are depicted through domestic scenes with dinnerware or a suspended chandelier, a juxtaposition that relates to Sasaki’s feeling she had lost her sense of home after moving to the U.S. for a few years. Now living in Kanazawa, the artist is using the weather and surrounding environment as a way “to recover from the reverse culture shock and rediscover my intimacy towards my home Japan little-by-little and day-by-day.”
Sasaki’s sculptures are part of multiple group shows, including one at Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art & Design through April 4, another at Art Museum Riga Bourse that will re-open April 6, and an upcoming spring exhibition at Tainan Art Museum in Taiwan. She also has a solo exhibition at Tokyo’s Gallery DiEGO Omotesando slated for May. Watch this interview and studio visit for a glimpse into her process, and follow where her work is headed next on Instagram.
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A new menagerie of polar bears, stags, and kangaroos resemble typical wildlife except for the fact that they’re literally swept under the carpet, their features hidden from view. These towering sculptural forms are by artist Debbie Lawson (previously), who crafts animals that are cloaked in sweeping Persian rugs. Rather than being camouflaged by a forest, jungle, or snow-covered Arctic, Lawson’s creatures boldly protrude from the fabric and loom over the viewer.
In her process, Lawson sculpts the animals from a combination of chicken wire and masking tape. She then layers luscious carpets across them, creating the illusion that these animals are about to jump, walk, and prance out of the fabric. This method is derived from what Lawson describes as her ability to spot hidden images in floors, textured walls, and various patterns, an interest that’s mirrored in her perspective-altering sculptures that appear to leap out from the gallery’s walls.
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Editor's Picks: Art
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